It’s being billed as a special session on job creation, but so far the people of Wisconsin can’t find proposals that actually create jobs. Gov. Walker is once again trying to slip through several tort bills which let companies off the hook when they produce a defective or dangerous product. A “tort” is a wrongful or negligent act for which victims deserve just legal compensation.
Instead of creating jobs, Gov. Walker wants to grant legal immunity to drug companies, making it impossible for anyone who has been harmed by FDA-approved drugs to hold drug producers accountable. Only one state, Michigan, has similar legislation. Wisconsin’s law would be even more extreme, extending legal immunity to makers of medical devices like automatic external defibrillators, heart valves and artificial hips.
“How does this create jobs?” asked Phil Neuenfeldt, President of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. “Liability laws are put in place to protect the consumer and ensure that the manufacturer makes a safe product. This is a clear giveaway to Gov. Walker’s corporate backers. This proposal does nothing to help employ the people of Wisconsin and everything to help big-time, special interest drug company CEOs. The CEO of the drug company Pfizer made $13.7 million in 2009, which is $52,692 per workday – more than the annual median household income for a Wisconsin family in 2010.”
“Drug companies have a responsibility to the public to make a safe product,” explained Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. “If Gov. Walker takes that responsibility away, we set a dangerous precedent and put every Wisconsinite who has ever taken prescription medicine or relied on a medical device at risk.”